I’m not big on riding indoors. I think I have posted that here about a zillion times. One of the best things about the sport of cycling is the interactions and visuals I get from moving outdoors at a speed fast enough to get somewhere, but slow enough to absorb the information. I think most of us would agree with this.
But I do understand the predicament that many get into during the winter when you leave for work when it is dark and return home, once again, in the dark.
We’ve been meeting after sunset the last few weeks, Mondays and Wednesdays, and have been doing night rides with lights for 30-50 miles. We leave around 5:15 and get back somewhere between 7:30 – 8:30. It has been unseasonable warm recently, so these rides have been great. Nearly shorts weather.
But that all changed yesterday. It started raining and the temperature dropped. Now there is a pretty thick layer of ice over everything. Really bad for the mass Black Friday shopping day. Even worse for the guys that were hoping to get in some miles over the long weekend.
That is the problem with making out training plans, especially in the winter. It is so weather dependent. You’re hoping to get in a big block of miles to hold you over for a couple weeks and then the roads are thick ice.
So, indoors is where you go. Like I said above, I don’t like it much. I do it occasionally, but try to avoid it. And I’ve done it a ton.
I spent a whole winter in Grand Forks North Dakota, riding an ergometer for hours a day. I nearly became a professional ergometer rider. When I flew back to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I was unreal on Eddie B.’s ergometer tests. It didn’t really have that much to do with being a good bike racer, in retrospect.
Anyway, there are so many choices for trainers and indoor riding. I think the new training methods and mentality blends in great for indoor training. All these guys that want to train by wattage/heartrate/numbers, it is perfect. But in reality, I think riding outside for an hour when it is cold out is better than 2-3 hours on a trainer.
My friend Mike McCarthy sent me a note about a couple years ago about a company he is involved in, Zwift. It is like an interactive video game for trainer riding. I think you can do rides with other people, races, climb, etc. I’ve never done it, but it might become addictive.
When Lawson Craddock hurt himself early this year, I guess he spent nearly a month on the trainer riding Zwift. It must have some attraction because he seemed to persevere the month and came out super strong. I might give it a try sometime later this winter, if I have the time.
Kathy LeMond sent me a LeMond trainer last year. I only rode it a couple times. I meant to take it back to Minneapolis this past summer, but never made it. Now yesterday, I put my cross bike on the trainer and rode an hour using my power meter. I can’t say I really enjoyed the whole ordeal, but I’m thinking that is going to be my training again today. I was hoping to go for a short run, but running on ice isn’t a good idea for me just right now.
Okay, this isn’t like the 1x debate, which got totally blown out of proportion. I don’t like riding indoors and try to avoid it like the plague. If indoor training is your deal, then so be it. It is hard enough keeping form over the winter, do it how it works for you.